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Posts tagged with: clothing

Resale Shop Jackpot!


We just returned from a day of shopping at local resale shops and we hit the jackpot.  Our first stop yielded 3 high end designer suits (Votre Nom, Apriori and Gerard Darel), 2 pair of slacks (Ann Taylor and Limited for $14 each) and 3 blouses  (White House, Black Market) for $200!  These items would have easily cost $1000 at full retail stores. 

Our next stop led to two great work dresses—Calvin Klein and Tahari–and a way, way discounted classic black Dooney & Bourke purse (side note–I hate buying purses and I am not very good at it so this is the first purse I’ve bought in over 6 years and according to Steve…it was time for my purse to be put to rest) and a fun Nicole Miller blouse.  The total there was $120 for everything!

We spent $80 at the last stop but here’s the list of finds:  2 pair of Abercrombie jeans for the boys, 3 abercrombie shirts for the boys, 1 American Eagle shirt for one of the boys and another great White House Black Market blouse.  The blouse was $13! 

The sales were awesome and the free tax weekend definitely helped!  I also found two more pair of Anne Klein shoes on ebay for $15 each and I have an entirely new high end, quality, classic wardrobe for about $450.  I shopped with assistance and supervision and stuck with the basic colors even if part of my brain is saying “black again?”  It is what I wear best and will get the most use out of at the office.   I am not a name brand person but I also learned from our blog conversations that I need to go with quality so that is why I am sharing the name brands.  Also, many thanks to Steve because he truly knows what I look best in and can pick things off of a rack in a heartbeat that are perfect. 

Great timing on this–I have a big work event in Dallas this week.  I admit it:  New clothes make these tough work things a little bit easier to handle.


Operation Wardrobe


At the beginning of August I shared that we held back $300 from the small credit card payment and that I would post about that later. 

This is sort of a confession I guess in that I have not planned well for a wardrobe budget.  Over the past few months with my changing weight and various work related activities, it has become evident that my wardrobe is lacking.  I’m confident this isn’t an “I don’t like what I have in my closet” issue but instead the product of trying to save money but ending up with a bunch of useless items that don’t have corresponding pieces.

If I could find Garanimals for Adults, I’d be their biggest customer.  I wore uniforms through most of my school years, wished I could wear uniforms in college and seriously considered the military because they would tell me what to wear.  I didn’t go with that option because they would tell me how to do a lot of things and back then (and a little bit now), I don’t do well being told what to do and how to do it.

I am not good at picking out clothes for work or play.  That’s why I owed Ann Taylor so much money!  I’d literally walk in and buy everything to assemble an outfit they had on display but then I’d get home and realize that created just that one outfit.  The top didn’t go with much else…the bottoms weren’t interchangeable either and I want to be able to mix and match but not look mixed and matched!  People often ask me if I want a personal assistant to manage my busy life and the answer is always know…but I dream of a personal shopper!  I’d like to just stay home and have perfect outfits brought to me that always look good, are versatile, fit well and last.  Well, who wouldn’t want that, right? 

So the $300 is a set aside for Operation Wardrobe.  I’m reaching out to good dressers that I know do so on a budget and asking them for help.  Once I build up a little bit more in the wardrobe fund, we will go shopping. I know this isn’t frivilous spending because my profession does require this…but I still don’t want to spend!  That’s a good thing!

Where did the Christmas money go?


I complained a few blogs ago about my inability to part with our budgeted Christmas money. Two years of no Christmas spending has formed some serious tightwad habits – and not in a good way.

I did buy a couple gift cards to restaurants for my siblings and I bought a shirt on sale for my husband. He also asked for a few small tools to add to his work bench so I stopped by the hardware store and bought him a gift card. I was $50 under budget and extremely proud of myself.

Shortly before Christmas, my husband called me at work and asked how much was left in the Christmas budget. When I told him, he asked if he could donate it to Rady Children’s Hospital. He had been listening to the radiothon all week and felt the kids needed it more than we did.

We donate a set amount to charity each month and in my compulsiveness, I hadn’t even thought to be more generous over the holidays.

I have become the Christmas Scrooge.

We gave the last $50 to Children’s Hospital.

Fortunately for me, I married a compulsive giver. Somewhere in the middle, I think we’ll turn out OK. Maybe next year, I’ll be a little less Scrooge-ish.

Want to borrow my pen?


I went shopping with a friend over the weekend – and by ‘shopping’ I mean she shopped, I watched.

As she went to purchase a stack of clothing, she pulled out her shiny credit card and tapped it on the counter excitedly while she talked about how cute the clothes were.

The cashier ran the card but couldn’t find a pen for the signature. My friend looked at me and asked, ‘Do you have a pen?’

I pulled out the only pen I had, my Financial Peace University pen from Dave Ramsey.

As she gleefully signed at the bottom, I couldn’t help but laugh as I imagined the Financial Peace pen bursting into flame the second it touched the credit card slip.

Surprisingly, it didn’t.

I miss spending like that. I miss buying what I wanted. But…

I don’t miss the credit card debt.

The Goodwill Experiment…


Around once every other month, I purchase an article of clothing for work. I don’t spend more than $20 or $30 and this purchase cycle generally keeps up with the speed I wear out clothing. I would likely be tempted to purchase more but my husband and I share an 8 foot wide closet. There is only so much clothing I can squeeze into 4 feet of space – trust me, I’ve tried.

This cycle has always worked for me… until now.

My washer stained a huge load of clothing. When all you own is three pairs of business slacks and the washer wipes one out, your wardrobe is suddenly reduced by 33%.

I think my washer is out to get me.

My budget is slim this month thanks to Hutch’s aftercare (we’re paying cash for all his aftercare to avoid financing it) and I robbed my clothing budget. Not exactly the best time for my washer to be vengeful.

My husband would have understood if I asked to take some money from our debt payment this month so I could buy new clothes but based on the ratio of income to spending this month, that’s not a good idea. So… I decided to go to Goodwill and shop for clothes.

I have never shopped for clothing at a thrift store. Why? Because thrift store shopping requires a huge dose of patience mixed with equal parts humility.

I have neither.

I won’t lie to you and say it was just like shopping at Macy’s. But the staff was sweet and kind (definitely not Macy’s!) and helped me locate the sections I should start looking in. I found two skirts I can wear to work and a cute Hawaiian skirt for $2.99! My total bill? $12.97.

As weird as it is to say… I’m going to rotate Goodwill into my shopping. Check out my goods!

Have you shopped at a thrift store? What’d you think?

On a side note – Hutch is getting a little better each day. He still sleeps on his back to keep the pressure off his poor tummy but the swelling has gone down drastically in the last 2 days. Whew!

Learning from the Financial Wisdom of Family…


My sister is visiting from Kansas City with her husband and four kids for the next two weeks. I’d love the fact that she visits more if she wasn’t… so… well…


She’s debt free other than her mortgage – and even then, she’s paying it aggressively. I’d love to tell you that her husband makes loads of money and that’s how she’s able to be a stay at home mom to four kids and remain debt free but…

He doesn’t.

My sister has found ways to live below her means and actively seeks new methods to spend less. She purchases clothing and toys for the kids at garage sales in nice neighborhoods then resells them when the kids outgrow them (sometimes, she actually MAKES money on this!), doesn’t waste money on cable TV or other ‘necessities’, drives an older yet reliable car, and she cooks fabulous inexpensive meals at home (my home cooked meals are inexpensive but they are far from fabulous).

She’s the annoyingly good at being frugal but not cheap.

Naturally, I spend this time around her basking in her infinite financial wisdom, asking questions, and learning from her example…

…and I am also the queen of England.

Sorry folks, sibling rivalry is alive and well.

So, I do the second best thing, I make my mom ask the questions and I pretend not to listen.

My advice, befriend someone frugal – even if it is your sister. I find that I don’t learn as much from the books or the internet as I do from those who may not have it all figured out, but they do a pretty darn good job.

An interesting party idea…


My husband decided to throw a ‘redneck party’. We live in a back country part of San Diego and our city is often made fun of thanks to the prevalence of confederate flags and livestock. Realistically, my husband thought it would be funny to dress in overalls and drink homemade beer with all his friends.

As we started working through the details, I couldn’t help but wonder… maybe rednecks have it right. Here is how we have prepared so far and the current expenses:

I threw together an online invitation for our friends (free):

It’s time to round up yer cousin and yer sister from their mobile home… we’re havin’ our first annual REDNECK PARTY!!


Because if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

What shall you wear?

Guys: Pull your overalls out of the closet and throw on a wife beater tank top or your favorite Nascar t-shirt. Mullets, farmer tans, and confederate flags are strongly encouraged. Teeth are optional. Don’t forget your Skoal can.

Gals: Throw on your finest Walmart duds, tube tops, and platform flip flops with those Daisy dukes. Apply sparkly blue eye shadow liberally.

What should you bring?

Beverages: Pabst Blue Ribbon and Boxed/Jug wine.

Food: Moonpies, Cheese Puffs, Pork & Beans, Pigs in a Blanket, Fried Spam, Baked Beans, Spray Cheese, Potato Salad, etc.

Who will serenade us?

Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ACDC, and Gretchen Wilson.

There may be some games, there may be a redneck Olympian torch lighting ceremony, there may be prizes… but I can’t give it all away now can I?!?

So, hop in your 1987 Toyota Tercel and git over here!

We borrowed some used hubcaps from the local tire store to play games with and use for decorations (free).
We are wearing our own clothes (circa 1980 – also free).
We borrowed a wheel barrow from our neighbor for wheelbarrow races (free).
We pulled an old rope from the garage for the lasso competition (free).
We are borrowing new toilet seats from my husband’s plumbing company to play redneck horseshoes (free).
We rented country CD classics like Gretchen Wilson, Confederate Railroad, Kris Kristopherson, and Merle Haggard from the library (free).

So far, our expenses are zero! Perhaps we should rename the party ‘Working toward our debt free goal and having fun at the same time’. I’ll be sure to toss some pictures up here next Monday after the party.

Any ideas on cheap gatherings? How about additional games for our redneck party?